V. Nistelrooy makes disappointing return
23 August 2007, GENEVA (AP) - Tranquillo Barnetta scored two goals to give Switzerland a 2-1 win against the Netherlands in a friendly on Wednesday, with Ruud van Nistelrooy making a disappointing return to international soccer.
23 August 2007
GENEVA (AP) - Tranquillo Barnetta scored two goals to give Switzerland a 2-1 win against the Netherlands in a friendly on Wednesday, with Ruud van Nistelrooy making a disappointing return to international soccer.
Barnetta scored from the penalty spot in the ninth minute after Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg used his hand to trip Johan Vonlanthen in the box.
The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder scored a second in the 51st with a powerful shot into the roof of the net after reacting first to a loose ball.
Within seconds of the restart, substitute Dirk Kuyt headed home from close range after the Dutch raced down the field past a disoriented Switzerland.
Van Nistelrooy, playing in his first international match since falling out with Netherlands coach Marco van Basten at last year's World Cup, had few opportunities and the Real Madrid striker was replaced by Kuyt for the second half.
Blaise N'Kufo made a strong return to Switzerland's squad after a five-year absence. N'Kufo, who plays for Dutch team FC Twente, nearly converted a volley just before the interval.
The Netherlands dominated possession for most of the match at the Stade de Geneve, but failed to carve out clear scoring opportunities. Wesley Sneijder missed his team's best first-half chance, dragging a shot just wide of the post in the 33rd.
Substitute Ryan Babel nearly equalised in the 61st minute but his 16-yard shot was denied by Swiss goalkeeper Fabio Coltorti. Clarence Seedorf then shot wide when given an even better chance from 12 yards in injury time.
The Dutch are third in their qualification group for the 2008 European Championship with 14 points from six matches.
Switzerland, which is co-hosting the event with Austria, qualifies automatically but had won just one of its previous four friendly matches.
[Copyright AP 2007]
Subject: Dutch news